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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
10 Jan 2012
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper for further review has not been submitted.
Flux correction for closed-path laser spectrometers without internal water vapor measurements
R. V. Hiller1, C. Zellweger2, A. Knohl3, and W. Eugster1 1Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
2Empa, Materials Science & Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
3Institute of Bioclimatology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Abstract. Recently, instruments became available on the market that provide the possibility to perform eddy covariance flux measurements of CH4 and many other trace gases, including the traditional CO2 and H2O. Most of these instruments employ laser spectroscopy, where a cross-sensitivity to H2O is frequently observed leading to an increased dilution effect. Additionally, sorption processes at the intake tube walls modify and delay the observed H2O signal in closed-path systems more strongly than the signal of the sampled trace gas. Thereby, a phase shift between the trace gas and H2O fluctuations is introduced that dampens the H2O flux observed in the sampling cell. For instruments that do not provide direct H2O measurement in the sampling cell, transfer functions from externally measured H2O fluxes are needed to estimate the effect of H2O on trace gas flux measurements. The effects of cross-sensitivity and the damping are shown for an eddy covariance setup with the Fast Greenhouse Gas Analyzer (FGGA, Los Gatos Research Inc.) that measures CO2, CH4, and H2O fluxes. This instrument is technically identical with the Fast Methane Analyzer (FMA, Los Gatos Research Inc.) that does not measure H2O concentrations. Hence, we used measurements from a FGGA to derive a modified correction for the FMA accounting for dilution as well as phase shift effects in our instrumental setup. With our specific setup for eddy covariance flux measurements, the cross-sensitivity counteracts the damping effects, which compensate each other. Hence, the new correction only deviates very slightly from the traditional Webb, Pearman, and Leuning density correction, which is calculated from separate measurements of the atmospheric water vapor flux.

Citation: Hiller, R. V., Zellweger, C., Knohl, A., and Eugster, W.: Flux correction for closed-path laser spectrometers without internal water vapor measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., 5, 351-384,, 2012.
R. V. Hiller et al.
R. V. Hiller et al.


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